Dear Lauren…On Your Birthday

Dear Lauren,

You have been growing.

I didn’t need you to step up into the measuring booth at Busch Gardens to tell me that.  No need for a doctor’s statistics, a growth chart, or a scale to verify what I’ve known all year.

I’ve seen it.

This one day we celebrate another year of you, but I’ve seen God-at-work not just one magic day, but day-by-day, tiny changes, tiny steps, signs of the Holy Spirit at work.laurendaffodil

And I’ve been celebrating all along because oh, how I have prayed for you.  I have sunk right down onto my Mom-knees and prayed for you.  In that minivan in those rare moments when I am all alone, I’m praying for you.  And when I push that stroller down the Main Street of our town, I’m praying then, too.

Praying that God digs the roots of faith deep in your heart and mind. 
Praying that He helps you make wise decisions and that you choose good friends.
Praying that you use all those many gifts for His glory and that with discipline and self-control you excel like I know you can. 
Praying that you overcome paralyzing fear and the emotions that overwhelm. 
Praying that you willingly choose Him and His Word over every worldly distraction.

This spiritual journey, this maturing and growing up, it’s full of stepping forward and then stepping right back at times, full of a million right choices and then those times when we get it wrong.

But we’re growing all the while.  Mistakes can often be better teachers than successes.

So, we rejoice because we see how you’ve chosen excellence, responsibility, discipline, and giving it your best in school.

We celebrate how you’ve gotten up early all year long to get ready for school on time without those morning breakdowns.

We marvel at how you sang those solos and stood on the stage and didn’t give in to fear or stage fright or excuses, but you did what we knew all along you could do.

And even on the days when maybe you don’t get it all perfect and right, remember this:

We love you.

You bristle at words like, “I love you” and don’t often let me just hug on you like this momma longs to do.

But in the million tiny ways I try to say it, I hope your heart knows the truth.  Picking out those perfect gifts, slipping jokes into your lunch box, sitting across the school lunch table with you while you munch on carrot sticks, taping balloons and streamers and wrapping paper to your door the night before your birthday—-that’s “I love you” without the words because sometimes words fall short anyway.

We love who you are—that way you have of telling jokes, making those funny faces, sending your baby brother into hysterical fits of infant giggles.

We love your quick mind and the way you respond to praise, like the spring flowers reaching to the sun and blooming with all their might.  Your teacher this year tells you all the time, “Great day today, Lauren.  I’m proud of you, Lauren” and you just open up in her class.  She has helped you shine.Photo by just2shutter

The way he gives you these perfect teachers, it reminds me over and over that you are in His hands.

You’ve always been in His hands.

Way back when you were just this tiny squirming baby inside me and those doctors told me you were too small, you were high risk, maybe you weren’t growing as you should, even then God gave me one promise to hold on to:  He’s got the Whole World in His hands.

And baby girl, that means Your World is in His hands.  Even then when I couldn’t see your face save for a blurry image on an ultrasound screen, I knew His hands were big enough to hold you.

Now you’ve grown so much, but His hands are still just the right size to pick you up, to protect you, to guide you, to rescue you, to lift you high.

On your eighth birthday, I pray this for you:

 My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:14-19 MSG).

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

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